An August 1 in Switzerland


August 1 - Swiss national holiday. My mother-in-law had invited to Schwyz, capital of SOTA region HB/SZ, one of the three founder states of the Swiss confederation. She lives there nearby an institution for elderly people, and they had invited to celebrate Switzerland’s birthday in a big tent with church service, singing the national anthem, a good meal and some popular traditional music.

I had my SOTA gear with me and didn’t know if we would have enough time to do an activation nearby after the organised part of the day. So I unpacked and set up my 10-m-mast and the end-fed antenna just nearby the tent to see how the KX2 would operate in the town. I had done that already at home several times, but I was always appointed because of the electronic noise and the bad propagation in the town.


To my surprise the noise was limited and the signals on the main bands quite loud, especially on 40 m. I chase in general on very rare occasions, but I decided to check SOTAwatch and to chase some activators. This resulted in 4 contacts out of the town with 10 Watts and an end-fed. The first and best one was Heinrich, @IW3AGO, from South Tyrol, up on I/AA-106, a 10-pointer at 2,700 m.a.s.l. We exchanged 57/59, although Heinrich used only a telescopic antenna on the summit. Next one was René, @HB9CRY, activating from region HB/GR with 59 both ways. This was interesting and unexpected!

My antenna was an eye-catcher of course . . . so two elderly ladies started a talk to me. The first one told me that her son had been a radio amateur in former years and was surprised that people still do “radio” nowadays. I asked her back if she didn’t have a cellular phone. “Yes, of course”, was the answer. “So you are doing radio, too - you name it?”, and she was happy with that. The other lady was even better. She had hiked and climbed in former years and originated from South Tyrol. She couldn’t merely believe that I had contacted IW3AGO on a summit in her homeland. “This is really a beautiful hobby!” she acknowledged and went then back to her room.

Finally, we went out for a real activation to a nice and silent 1-pointer nearby: Unter Gibel, 910 m.a.s.l., HB/SZ-039. Just park in the village of Aufiberg between the chapel and the restaurant and follow the sign posts to “Gibel”. This takes you about 30 minutes. There is a rest area just within the activation zone. 11 QSOs, whereof 5 S2S QSOs and a really nice view to the Muotatal valley and the surrounding mountains could be logged.


Of course some insights:

2 x 10 m of end-fed antenna wire for 20 and 40 m between traditional houses in Schwyz.

HB9DIZ today within the colours! The flag with the big gross is the national flag of the Swiss confederation, the one with the small cross the state flag of the Canton of Schwyz, one of the three founder states of the Confederation.

The 10-m-mast “Mini” from DX-Wire attached to the operators chair.

Today’s activation of Unter Gibel (Gibelhorn on the maps), HB/SZ-039, and a great view from the hiking trail from Aufiberg:

Muotatal valley with the villiages of Ried and Muothathal (behind), Fallenfluh summit on the left (no SOTA) and Wasserbergfirst (HB/SZ-009, right, in the background).

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ